• Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Agents and Contracts

    These last two weeks I have been watching a friend struggle with all the agent myths AFTER getting an offer from a major New York publisher for a multi-book deal that he marketed and sold himself. And watching this, I came to realize that there is still another agent myth that I haven’t covered in a chapter. This is a brand new myth because of the change in the industry and agents. The myth is that you must have an agent or an attorney to negotiate a book contract. A myth that I have taught and believed up until things changed in the last few years. Truth: Today, sometimes, under…

  • Fun Stuff,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishings. Asking Your Agent Permission

    I have to ask permission from my agent. I have heard that sentence in one fashion or another more than I want to think about lately. Drives me crazy every time because of how really, really wrong and flat stupid it is. I figured I answered this myth a great deal in all the other agent chapters and I had no real plans on addressing it directly. If you haven’t read all of those earlier chapters, please, please go to the top of this page and click on the tab for this book and read the chapters and comments with “agent” in the title. There are a bunch of them.…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. Your Agent Sells Your Book Overseas

    I hear over and over and over again how a writer must have an agent to sell books overseas. I even used it as one of the reasons in an earlier post about why a writer might want to have an agent. But is it your agent, the person you hired in New York, who actually sells your book overseas? Of course not. And that’s where the myth and misinformation really gets out of hand in this area about agents. I can hear a few of the thoughts out there right now. Writer Boy has lost it. On one hand he says it is a reason to get an agent…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Agents Take Care Of Your Money

    Would you e-mail a perfect stranger and offer to give them control over your money? Sound like an internet scam? Sure it does, yet this is what fiction writers do all the time. I have touched on this in a number of different ways in the other agent chapters in this book, and had no intention of coming back to it in a stand-alone chapter. Then I started getting private e-mails about how I was wrong about agents, about how they were partners to writers, about how this agent or that agent had taken great care of the writer. Fine, except for one issue. With attitudes like those writers had,…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: All Agents Care About Writers First

    I never intended to do so many of the agent myths in a row, but since we’re having such a great conversation, and Laura Resnick brought this one up in the comments on the last one, it makes sense to just go on. New writers and many professional writers believe that when they hire an agent, the agent has their best interest only in mind. With many modern agents, this is so far wrong, a writer’s interest doesn’t even get in the top three places of focus for some agents. So said clearly, the myth is: Agents always have their client’s best interests in mind. But before I start, I…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Workshops

    I believe writers’ workshops, when used correctly, are a good tool for a writer to use. When used for the wrong reason, they are destructive beyond all measure. And there are so many myths built up around writers’ workshops that this might take a few chapters. In this chapter, I will focus on the top myths about writers’ workshops and also get into how to use a workshop correctly. Big Workshop Myth #1. A WORKSHOP WILL HELP YOU FIX A MANUSCRIPT. Of course, that’s total hogwash, but many writers go into a workshop thinking just that. Workshops, in the form that we know them today, have been around since the…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. Agents

    The myth is simply: YOU MUST HAVE AN AGENT TO SELL A BOOK To be clear, I like agents and have no desire to bring them harm. But the myths these days about agents are so thick and have become so ugly to new writers, I figured I had better tackle at least one of them next. And yes, there are more than one. And in the last 20 years, the biggest myth that has blown up into a damaging myth is that you need an agent to sell a book. This is, of course, complete hogwash, but I have no doubt some of you reading this are already resisting…